Getting Started

Online courses use a personal computer to connect participants from across the country and around the world via the Internet.

Generally speaking, in an online course, you can expect to:

  • connect into Brightspace (D2L) via the internet with a personal password
  • participate in a course with set start and end dates (Many classes have been developed with a structure similar to traditional on-campus courses with due dates tied to assignments, readings, and other course-related activities)
  • proceed through course requirements together with your class, but be able to access the course at a time of day that is convenient to you
  • make a time commitment that is about the same as for an on-campus course

Online courses at MSU have specific start and finish dates, like face-to-face courses. This type of course allows students to learn together as a group. Students benefit from intellectual exchange with their networked comrades, much as students in a face-to-face environment gain from working as a group.

Courses run on a semester basis in the fall, spring, and summer. Many fall and spring courses begin in September or January respectively. Others may begin later. Summer courses begin at varying times in May, June, July, or August.

If your course is offered via Brightspace (D2L), go to:

http://ecat.montana.edu/

Course and Degree Offerings

To see all online courses offered through Montana State University, please visit the All Online Courses at Montana State University page.

Learn How to Register for a an online course.

Learn the cost of an online course

Yes, but you will have to apply to become an undergraduate or graduate student first. See Apply to MSU. Some courses are open only to students accepted into a particular program.

See the Online Degrees and Certificates page.

That depends on the program. Contact the program you are interested in for more information.

See our Online Degrees and Certificates page.

Cost and Time

It varies. Check with the program you are interested in. See the Online Degrees and Certificates page. for a start.

Students who have a bachelor's degree will need to pay the current MSU graduate tuition when enrolling in either undergraduate or graduate courses, in addition to any fees assigned to the course offering.

Health insurance is mandatory whenever you are enrolled for 6 or more academic credits. If you have your own insurance, you may waive participation in the student policy.

Students must waive each semester that they are registered for 6 or more credits. All online students may waive through MyInfo, MSU's online student information system, after they register. How?

If you experience difficulty while requesting a waiver or if you have questions, please call the student health insurance office at (406) 994-3199.

Students with fewer than 6 credits may be eligible for coverage depending on their enrollment circumstances. For more information, call (406) 994-3199.

For information about the student Blue Cross Blue Shield policy, including current rates, please visit the BCBS Student Health Insurance Plan Web site.

Online courses at MSU have specific start and finish dates, like face-to-face courses. This type of course allows students to learn together as a group. Students benefit from intellectual exchange with their networked comrades, much as students in a face-to-face environment gain from working as a group.

Courses run on a semester basis in the fall, spring, and summer. Many fall and spring courses begin in September or January respectively. Others may begin later. Summer courses begin at varying times in May, June, July, or August.

Expect to spend as much time on an online course as you would in a similar face-to-face course. Budget approximately 3-4 hours per credit hour per week in a 15-week course, or even more time if you are not familiar with computers. (Example: for a 3-credit hour course, set aside 9-12 hours for it per week.) In a course shorter than 15 weeks, expect to spend more time per credit hour per week.

Apply, Register, Financial Aid, Orient Yourself, Student Records

All students must apply to MSU to take an online course.

If you wish to take online courses, but do not plan on earning a degree, apply to become a non-degree student. If you have not received your Bachelor's degree apply as an undergraduate. If you have received your Bachelor's degree apply as a graduate student.

Forms:

You can log into the MyInfo system to view the courses you have registered for. Please note:

  • Course start and end dates
  • Your instructor
  • How to obtain course materials/textbooks by contacting the bookstore or instructor
  • How to log into the online learning management system Brightspace (D2L). See How to log into Brightspace
  • Library Services for Distance Students

Find out how to obtain your course materials/textbooks by contacting the bookstore, the instructor, or by visiting the online course description website for the course(s) you registered for.

Learn how to log into Desire2Learn. Remember, you won’t be able to access your course(s) in Brightspace (D2L) until the first day of class. Once you are logged into Brightspace (D2L) you can register for a D2L Overview course located as a link in the upper right hand corner of Brightspace (D2L). The overview will allow you to become familiar with the system.

Learn how to access your Student Records and Information in MyInfo.

Student Health Insurance - Students enrolled in at least 6 credits during a semester may be billed for Student Health Insurance. Please be sure to check your Student Account in My Info.

If you would like to waive the health insurance fees please call the Student Health Insurance office at (406) 994-3199 or waive them in MyInfo.

The MSU Student Health Insurance plan.

Immunizations - If you are taking only online courses and not physically coming to campus, please call Student Health Services at (406) 994-2311 if an immunization hold is preventing you from registering or carrying out other student administrative functions. It is possible that the immunization requirement may be waived.

Immunizations holds are reinstated in November and April. If you are a continuing online student, you may have to contact Student Health Services each fall and spring.

Please note that if you register for an MSU on-campus course at a later date, you must meet the immunization requirement.

Log into MyInfo, MSU’s secure student information portal. Within the MyInfo system, you can do the following:

  • Update your personal information, such as mailing addresses, email addresses and phone numbers
  • View your progress towards a degree through DegreeWorks
  • View grades and request official or unofficial transcripts
  • Review Financial Aid related information

Textbooks, Library, and Proctoring

Most textbooks you can order through your favorite brick-and-mortar or online bookstore. Your course may also use electronic texts that you can read, download, or print from your computer. In certain cases, MSU online programs may mail you a packet of materials for your course via surface mail.

Learn how to access resources available to online/distance students through the MSU Library.

Add, Drop, Withdraw

  • See Dropping a Class
  • If it is too late to add or drop with MyInfo, download the Add-Drop Request Form (PDF). (This require Adobe Acrobat Reader)
  • Fax the form to the appropriate officials with a request for a signature. Your program liaison may be able to help you with this process.

Note: If you have been admitted to MSU and drop all courses, you must withdraw from the university. You can't drop to Zero credits online, you must call one of the following numbers. If you have not confirmed your bill please call the registrar at (406) 994-6650. If you have confirmed your bill please call the Office of Student Success at (406) 994-7627 to do a University Withdrawl.

If you have been admitted to MSU and drop all courses, you must withdraw from the university. Learn more.

There is a withdrawal deadline every semester. To find it, check the Registration Handbook

You can't drop to Zero credits online, you must call one of the following numbers. If you have not confirmed your bill please call the registrar at (406) 994-6650. If you have confirmed your bill please call the Office of Student Success at (406) 994-7627 to do a University Withdrawl.

Grades, Credit, Transferring, Transcripts, and Accreditation

Yes. The online courses are as rigorous and demanding as face-to-face courses. The credit you earn from an online course is the same you would earn in the equivalent face-to-face course.

Visit MyInfo

  1. Click on "Enter Secure Area"
  2. Enter User ID - Social Security # (enter without dashes)
  3. Enter PIN #; 6-Digit Birth Date (mmddyy) unless changed
  4. Click on "Student Services"
  5. Click on "Student Records"
  6. Click on "Final Grades" or "Academic Transcript"

If you need assistance, please contact the Office of the Registrar and Enrollment Services at (406) 994-6650.

Prospective undergraduate students can check the Transfer Equivalencies Page to see which courses they have taken at other universities will transfer. The Office of Enrollment Services will officially evaluate your credit once you have been admitted, your transcripts are received, and you are enrolled at MSU. Learn more.

Prospective graduate students can learn more by going to the College of Graduate Studies' Transferring Credits page.

Check with the other university. Be sure to include a copy of the MSU course description with your request.

Online Courses: Technical Questions

If your course is offered via Brightspace (D2L), go to:

http://ecat.montana.edu/

If your course is using Brightspace (D2L), go to the Support for Brightspace Password Help Page

If your course is not offered through Brightspace, please contact your instructor or program liaison for information regarding the location of your course on the internet.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Help Desk at (406) 994-1777 or helpdesk@montana.edu.

If your course is using Brightspace (D2L), you can reset your password using the MSU Password Help Page. You can learn more about your Brightspace (D2L) password on the Support for Brightspace Password Help Page.

If your course is not using Brightspace (D2L), please contact your instructor or program liaison for information about how to change your password.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Help Desk at (406) 994-1777 or helpdesk@montana.edu.

Most Web-based courses at Montana State University are delivered via Brightspace (D2L), courseware for building interactive learning communities on the Web.

Some courses may have additional system requirements. Please read program and course descriptions carefully.

See also detailed platform and browser information.

Call the Help Desk at 406-994-1777 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mountain Time (GMT -7). Help Desk consultants can assist Montana State University students with Brightspace (D2L), word processing, spreadsheet, and (Mac and Windows) operating system issues.

In addition, your program may have its own technical support person available for telephone consultation.